ACT Announcement & Science as Reading

Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:

ACT released another announcement today–they are planning to delay the release of online testing this fall. Initially, ACT planned to offer students a computer-based version of the test at select national testing sites starting in September. They’ve walked that plan back to focus on increasing capacity for fall testing at national test centers. This follows ACT’s announcement a few weeks ago that they were also postponing section retesting; both online testing and section retesting have been delayed until at least 2021.

Along with that announcement, we’re wrapping up our focus on college readiness skills assessed on the ACT and SAT by diving into the ACT Science skills. Both the ACT and the SAT assess science, though only ACT does so in a dedicated section. Both tests focus on the skill of reading and understanding data, not on actual science content. Many students are put off by ACT Science, thinking they will be required to have an in-depth knowledge of a wide variety of science topics. The Science section, however, is really a test of reading—reading data, that is. See the item and associated data presentation below:

Students don’t need to have any working knowledge of botany, vine length, or light exposure; rather, they need to apply skills to accurately read this graph and compare between constant and exponential rates. Like the critical reading skills we analyzed, the data reading skills of the Science questions will be immensely important throughout a student’s time in high school, college, and career. Ineffective data analysis skills aren’t just problematic in an academic setting; they can be downright dangerous if key life decisions are based on misinformation. We work with our students to prepare them to be effective at data analysis both on and beyond the ACT. We’ll be back next week with some test-specific content.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO

Matthew Pietrafetta

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